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Tacoma invasion

Northwest playwright’s alliance brings New Orleans and LA to Tacoma

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Bryan Willis is a man with an agenda.

The pony farmer’s son completed his Master’s degree in Fine Arts from New York University’s Dramatic Writing Program, and then went on to work in many theatres’ literary departments. Additionally, his work has been produced off-Broadway, on the London fringe, throughout the United Kingdom, and in regional theatres across the United States and Canada, and has been featured on National Public Radio. He’s received commissions and awards including the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion and a Theater Fellowship from Artists Trust.

“I’ve had my time out of the Northwest,” he muses, and states his agenda: “I’d like to see, in my lifetime, Northwest playwrights seen and produced.”

He adds, “There’s so much talent up and down I-5,” and yet, he notes that there’s a disconnect between the regions.

But with his Northwest Playwrights Alliance, this disconnect is beginning to shift, especially with the recent success of collaborations with other entities, like the former Tacoma Actor’s Guild, (now the space Theatre on the Square) whose rehearsal hall is used for readings every second Monday, and the University of Puget Sound, as well as a vast pool of talent. “You work with people you know and trust,” explains Willis.

“Tacoma’s been really good to us,” notes Willis, an Olympia native, “especially our partnership with UPS — it’s better than anything we could have hoped for.”

This Friday that relationship will bear fruit in the staging of Rosalind Bell’s work, “The New Orleans Monologues,” which was read and workshopped by the Northwest Playwright’s Alliance in one of the Monday readings.

The path of “The New Orleans Monologues” might be followed by “…and LA is Burning,” the play to be read at Monday evening’s NPA reading. This piece, written by Y York, who won’t be making the trip back from Hawaii to the Northwest, where she lived for a decade, to hear the reading, though the reading will be directed by Allison Narver per York’s request. The evening is free; listen and add your opinion about the work.

[University of Puget Sound Norton Clapp Theatre, “The New Orleans Monologues” by C. Rosalind Bell, Nov. 9-10, 16-17; 2 p.m. Nov. 10 and 18, 7:30 p.m. $7-$11, 1500 N Warner St., Tacoma, 253.879.3419,]

[Broadway Center Rehearsal Studio, reading of “…and LA is Burning,” Monday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m., no cover, 915 Broadway, Tacoma, ????????]

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